Minnesota Biodiesel Looks to Make it in Big Apple

mnbioheatA group of Minnesota soybean farmers recently made the trip to New York City to see how one of their products, biodiesel, is making a big splash in the Big Apple. This article from the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council says the group was able to see several success stories of the green fuel being used in the big city, such as the New York Department of Sanitation that runs about 3,000 vehicles on a minimum of B5, or 5 percent biodiesel, and how bioheat, a mix of biodiesel with heating oil, is keeping New Yorkers warm at home.

The New York Department of Sanitation (DSNY) is no stranger to using biodiesel in its fleet. City vehicles are required to run a blend of 5 percent biodiesel, or B5. But DSNY Deputy Commissioner Rocky DiRico said his department has run blends of B20 for years. “We’ve had our obstacles along the way while pursing green,” he said. “We started using biodiesel eight or 10 years ago, and we’ve been pushing the move to B20 for a long time.” DSNY has nearly 6,000 vehicles in its fleet, and while not all of them are diesel engines, roughly 3,000 run on biodiesel. “I don’t know if there is a more simpler, more economically feasible way to cut our fossil fuels down,” he said.

Spiro Kattan, DSNY Supervisor of Mechanics of Clean Fuels & Technologies Division agrees. “We went citywide with B5 In 2007, and today, from April to November, we are a B20 fleet and from December to March we are a B5 fleet,” he said. “We’ve displaced over 4 million gallons of fossil-based petro fuels, something we are very proud of, just by using biodiesel the past several years.”

Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) Vice Chairman Craig Bangasser attended the National Biodiesel Board Bioheat Tour to New York City to learn about NRDC and DSNY, as well as other agencies using biodiesel and Bioheat. He came away impressed. Bangasser says it’s up to the Council to figure out how Minnesota can play a role in the growing biodiesel market in NYC.

Team is Theme for Biodiesel Chair at #NBB16

nbb-16-marr-2National Biodiesel Board chairman Ron Marr with Minnesota Soybean Processors addressed the second general session of the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference with the message of teamwork to accomplish industry goals.

“As a team we have a shared drive and commitment to go out and win,” said Marr. “And as an industry, we have fought hard and had many successes but we also face significant challenges in the months to come.”

Marr stressed the importance of each individual member to get involved, particularly on the national level in contacting their legislative representatives. “Never underestimate the vital importance of your individual effort to your team’s success,” he said.

Listen to Marr’s address here: NBB chairman Ron Marr

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

#NBB16 Biodiesel Lifetime Achievement Award

nbb-16-livergoodMike Livergood is retiring this year from ADM after nearly four decades with the company and for his many years of service to the industry, he received the Eye on Biodiesel Lifetime Achievement award this year at the National Biodiesel Conference in Tampa.

Livergood has been at the forefront of helping develop the biodiesel industry, even before it was commercialized in this country. His work to keep the industry unified through the National Biodiesel Board has been essential to growth and success.

In his acceptance speech, Livergood talked about how ADM become involved with the National Biodiesel Board back in 1999. “By 2011, we were running eleven biodiesel facilities on three continents with total capacity of nearly three-quarters of a billion gallons a year,” he said. “Biodiesel was truly the savior of the soybean crushing industry.”

Listen here: Mike Livergood, Lifetime Achievement Award

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

Oilseeds, Corn Rise on Biodiesel, Ethanol Numbers

CBOTFutures prices for oilseeds, such as soybeans, as well as the price of corn rose after the federal government’s announcement on the amount of biodiesel and ethanol to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply. This report from Nasdaq says soybean prices rose to a five-week high, while corn prices also saw some gains.

Buying in the soybean-oil market also propped up oilseeds, analysts said. Soybean oil prices rose 2.3% on Tuesday, supported in part by the release Monday of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual targets for how much biofuel must be mixed into the nation’s fuel supply. The federal agency raised its volume requirements, suggesting more soyoil will be needed to meet biodiesel goals.

The final EPA mandates “indicate that a lot of soybean oil will be used to make biodiesel next year, so people are all bulled up on that,” said Terry Reilly, an analyst with brokerage Futures International LLC in Chicago.

Soybean futures for January delivery rose 8 1/4 cents, or 0.9%, to $8.89 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest closing price since Oct. 27.

Corn prices rose to a one-week high, boosted by investor short covering, which comes after prices tumbled in November. Corn prices also were supported by EPA’s ruling, which increased blending requirements for ethanol and prompted hopes for increased corn demand, the main feedstock in the biofuel.

“Corn traders figured the EPA announcement was friendly,” said Mr. Reilly.

Biodiesel Industry Welcomes #RFS RVO Numbers

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for years 2014, 2015 and 2016 as well as the volumes for the biomass-based diesel category for 2014-2017 that includes biodiesel volumes. The volumes were raised since the proposal in May 2015 and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) welcomed the improved #RFS rules; yet stressed that the EPA still needs to improve the amount of renewable fuels such as #biodiesel in years to come. Biodiesel is designated as an Advanced Biofuel under the RFS.

nBB“This decision means we will displace billions of gallons of petroleum diesel in the coming years with clean-burning biodiesel. That means less pollution, more American jobs, and more competition that is sorely lacking in the fuels market,” said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. “It is a good rule. It may not be all we had hoped for but it will go a long way toward getting the U.S. biodiesel industry growing again and reducing our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.”

According to the EPA, biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 57 percent to 86 percent as compared with petroleum diesel depending on the fuel’s production pathway. Under the now final RFS rule, Biomass-based Diesel volumes would grow to 1.9 billion gallons in 2016 and 2 billion gallons in 2017. The Biomass-based Diesel category also includes renewable diesel, another diesel alternative made from the same feedstocks using a different technology.

Jobe says the new standards reflect modest but meaningful growth over recent years when the U.S. market has hovered around 1.8 billion gallons annually. “We certainly think the biodiesel and overall Advanced Biofuel standards could and should have been higher,” he added. “The production capacity is there, and we have surplus fats and oils that can be put to good use.”

ASA logoAmerican Soybean Association (ASA) President Wade Cowan seconded NBB’s promise that the biodiesel industry can do much more. “As an industry we have always advocated for RFS volumes that are modest and achievable and the biodiesel industry has met or exceeded the targets each and every year that the program has been in place,” said Cowan. “The Administration wants to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and biodiesel can contribute more to that effort.”

Accounting for approximately half of the feedstock used, soybean oil remains the largest source of oil for biodiesel production.

Biodiesel & Bioheat Forum Great Success

Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSRPC) hosted the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum recently and it was a huge success said Keith Schrader, Chairman of MSPRC. He told DomesticFuel that what promoted the Council to put the event together was having gone to New York City for the past few years to participate in the Bioheat Tour.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-schrader“So I went out this Winter and saw what they were doing in the heating oil market out there and the diesel market,” said Schrader. “We thought we’d really like to have these guys come and spread the good news they have about their industry here in the Midwest. So we invited them to come and look around our industry and then do the Forum.”

The event featured a wide, diverse group with retailers, associations, research organizations, fuel marketers and more and who really want to spread the word on how successful the Northeast has been with biodiesel (new York City uses B20 to offset the emission problems due to heating oil) and Bioheat.

The goal of the Forum, that was achieved, was bigger awareness with retailers and fuel marketers in the Midwest to understand how successful these programs are in other parts of the country. And the people who visited the Midwest enjoyed the opportunity to meet the growers who are growing and producing the biodiesel they use every day.

Learn more about the Biodiesel and Bioheat Forum by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Keith Schrader: Keith Schrader, MN Soybean Research & Promotion Council

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

RINS, Tax Credit Good Drivers of Biodiesel

John Wenzel, with FC Stone, is a large energy dealer and works primarily with large fuel dealers and end users. He spoke during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum in Mankato, Minnesota last week. He recently moved to Kansas City from Minnesota and said it was good to be be back.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-wenzelWhen asked what he was hoping to convey to attendees he answered, “I wanted to show how the current oil market is oversupplied but at some point we think it will balance out. I also took a good look at some of the cost drivers around biodiesel and there still is a good opportunity for fuel dealers, I think, to blend biodiesel and for it to be really profitable. It goes back to where are some of the RIN values and also with the tax credit coming up, that’s a big driver and will help fuel dealers blend more biodiesel.”

Wenzel said that it was good to be at an event where he could see biodiesel used in different ways such as with Bioheat. He also noted that Minnesota has a B10 mandate while New York is marketing biodiesel through Bioheat and he thought these are good examples for other states. Ultimately though, he said the biodiesel industry will need to work closely with the oil heating industry to ensure that Bioheat is affordable for consumers who are considering a move to natural gas to meet statewide emission goals.

Learn more about by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with John Wenzel: John Wenzel, FC Stone

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

Eric Degesero: Bioheat Wins Environmental Contest

Eric Degesero runs the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey who represents retail heating oil and Bioheat distributors as well as motor fuel distributors throughout the state. Degesero said during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum in Mankato, Minnesota last week that the state, and thus his members, are seeing interest in Bioheat but an accelerated interest in the heating oil blend due to regulations and the cleanliness of fuels.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-degesero“What’s happened to us over time is that the goal line has been moved. We’ve worked out addressing our fuel being ‘dirty’ from a traditional environmental perspective,” said Degesero. “We worked very hard to remove sulfur from the fuel which we did, and we hadn’t even got that across the goal line and they kicked in a new game around greenhouse gas and global warming potential. That is where biodiesel blended into heating oil, thus the term bioheat, is a game changer because it allows us to be better than our competitor, which is natural gas in the Northeast that is relative to emissions across the board.”

He stressed that using a B5 Bioheat blend poses no problems for current equipment but trials with blends of up to B20 have also posed no issues. Degesero explained that a study they did in conjunction with Penn State found that using a B20 Bioheat blend actually increases system performance in existing heating systems in the field.

Learn more about how New Jersey is adopting and using Bioheat to meet environmental goals by listening to Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Eric Degesero: Eric Degesero, Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

Everyone Wins with Bioheat

Paul Nazzaro said that Bioheat has been a win, win situation for marketers, the biodiesel industry and the petroleum people as well during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum that recently took place in Mankao, Minnesota. Nazzaro is the President of Nazzaro Group, who is a liaison between the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and companies who want to, or do sell Bioheat. Specific to Bioheat, he said the product has allowed the biodiesel industry to reinvent itself and produce a product that is more accepted by consumers.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-nazzaro“In the past, heating oil was dirty, prehistoric and linked to to big oil,” said Nazzaro. “They’re finding out Bioheat is the next generation fuel for them and they are valuing the benefits that come with it.”

He said that education has been very important for the increased adoption of Bioheat and that NBB has been leading the way. But he noted that the education is not coming from newspapers and radio ads and stories, its coming from “gorilla marketing”. “It’s a fuel dealer talking to a consumer about the Bioheat and its benefits.”

You can listen Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Paul Nazzaro: Paul Nazzaro, Nazzaro Group

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album

New Biodiesel Techs, Feedstocks Help Expand Bioheat

Doug Root works in the world of biofuels in his role with the Ag Utilization Research Institute (AURI) where he looks for new opportunities for Minnesota commodities and co-products. One example: biodiesel. Root spoke during the Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum in Mankato, Minnesota where East met Midwest, or the home of Bioheat met the home of soybean production.

biodiesel-bioheat-15-rootThere are new technologies, explained Root, including new technologies to make biodiesel, new opportunities to utilize the biofuel, and new markets to expand to. There are also opportunities for reduced cost, quality and alternative feedstocks for manufacture of biodiesel or sale into the bioheat market and into the transportation fuels market.

Root said its been exciting to see the biodiesel industry mature and see the improvements in biodiesel quality, year after year to the point where there are virtually no longer low-temperature issues with the biofuel.

You can listen Chuck Zimmerman’s interview with Doug Root here: Doug Root, Ag Utilization Research Institute

Biodiesel/Bioheat Forum Photo Album